“Only the colored people themselves can determine their political, social and economic future.”

William Monroe Trotter

Prof. EA Kiss

This course surveys a hidden canon of African American film while also uncovers the roots of representational injustice in Hollywood and the secret, but cardinal role Woodrow Wilson played in the production and distribution of Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation” that led to the rebirth of the KKK. Wilson’s policy of segregation was adapted by Hollywood as a self-censoring industry regulation of representation. Black people could only appear on screen as subservient and marginal characters, never as equals, partners or leaders. This industry code, Wilson’s legacy, has become second nature to Hollywood.


“I Can’t Breathe”: Professional Witnessing and Documentary Truth

Zora Neal Hurston, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Gordon Parks, Ava DuVernay, Mario Van Peebles museum vitrine


Ava DuVernay


The Tree of Learning

Gordon Parks



Mario Van Peebles


Ethnographic Film Essays

Zora Neal Hurston


King Vidor


On Lynchings

Ida B. Wells-Barnett